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Create More Strategic At Your Work

Create More Strategic Meetings With These 3 Steps

Business meetings are part and parcel of a daily work day. In some cases, meetings take up the bulk of office hours. However, the question is: how productive are these meetings? Work meetings can be tiring and unproductive if business leaders do not know how to create more strategic meetings that encourage exchange of ideas and feedback. Here are some ways in which business leaders can work towards creating more strategic meetings to make the most out of these business meetings.

Setting the stage

Location: Believe it or not, the location can actually have an effect on the setting of the meeting. Are the meetings constantly held at the same meeting room on the same day? Business leaders can consider alternating between holding the meetings onsite or offsite. This can then provide some flexibility for the employees working remotely to join the meeting via video conference or even through Skype.

Purpose: One of the main reasons why meetings tend to drag beyond the intended duration is due to digression. It is imperative for business leaders to define the meeting agenda to employees and reaffirm the importance of keeping to the meeting purpose and duration in order to maximise everyone’s time.

Outcome: Setting a meeting outcome is a great way to ensure a productive and strategic meeting. This will allow business leaders as well as employees to work towards achieving the business outcome within the allocated time.

Providing the context

Background: At times, employees or even some senior leaders do not have an inkling of the meeting’s agenda or purpose. Before jumping straight into any action plan, it is crucial to first provide a background on the meeting’s purpose. At the same time, it would be good to highlight each attendee’s role in supporting the meeting’s purpose or agenda.

Vision: Similar to setting the outcome, having a vision for the meeting agenda will help to direct the discussion towards coming up with plans and action items for the meeting’s purpose. How do business leaders and employees envision the business or project to look like within the next three years? What are some of the potential obstacles that business leaders or employees can anticipate? Having a vision for the future will help to streamline the discussions to align with the meeting outcome.

Getting down to the task

Prioritise: After business leaders and employees have outlined the purpose and vision, it is time to shift the focus towards the action plans. Business leaders should shift their focus towards prioritising the tasks, understanding which are the ones that needs immediate attention and which are the ones that can be delayed. This will then allow business leaders and employees to better allocate their time to the tasks that are of higher priority rather than juggling to complete all the tasks at one go.

Restructuring office meetings such that it becomes strategic rather than mere presentation of reports and slides is a more effective way to maximise the value from these meetings. Office meetings need not be a long, tiring and boring affair. With these steps, it will certainly help to maximise the value of business meetings in the long run.

Delivering A Good “No” At Work

The workplace today is constantly bombarded with random requests: Can we have a meeting later this afternoon? Would you be able to send me a draft proposal by today? Can you call me back now?

Working all on these requests no doubt creates the impression that you are a yes man or woman. Sure, there are plenty of reasons why people need you to get a particular work done. However, there is only 24 hours in a day and so much that one can accomplish within the day. What is the best way to politely reject someone without sounding rude and standoffish?

Let me connect you with someone else

“I’m afraid I will not be able to do it, but perhaps John or Jane will be able to take it on”. Directing a request to another person is a great way to avoid adding another item to your to-do list. At the same time, it helps the person get his or her task done quickly.

Ask me later

“I would love you help you out but I am quite tied up until June. Perhaps you could ask me again then?” Be upfront that you do not have the capacity at the moment to help with someone’s request or task. However, informing them of when you are available could help others better plan project timelines and resources. It also provides you with a heads-up that the same person could possibly approach you again during your “free” period.

Quick favours

“I am unable to speak at your event, but I could help you promote it on my blog.” While you might not be able to help someone with a particular task or request, offering an alternative solution helps to maintain a better relationship as opposed to simply saying no.

The decision lies with someone else

“I would love to help out on this project but I have promised my manager that I will be working on another project instead.” Mentioning that you have other tasks and work on focus on creates the impression to others that you know how to take control and manage your own priorities. Others are unlikely to fault you for saying no.

Set boundaries

“I will be able to help you out, but given my current bandwidth, I will only be able to assist on part of the project.” If you have some capacity to help your co-workers, ensure not to over commit and limit the commitment level that is comfortable for you.

People will reach out to you all the time for all kinds for random work requests.  Not every request warrants a response . However, the way you response makes a great deal of difference. At the bare minimum, if you are unable to commit to help out on a work request, be respectful and decline politely.

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